Which maestro was known as Noddy?

Which maestro was known as Noddy?


norman lebrecht

September 16, 2018

Stephen Jones remembers Gennady:

We musos may be critical of conductors (cf. Norman Lebrecht, The maestro myth: great conductors in pursuit of power), but don’t get me wrong, we deeply admire great ones—such as Boulez, Tennstedt, Gardiner, Rattle (unlikely bedfellows…).

Apart from Boulez, another highlight of depping regularly with the BBC Symphony Orchestra was working for Rozhdestvensky (known in the trade as Noddy)….

Read on here.


Some called him Father Christmas, taken from the meaning of his Russian name.

And maybe his habit of giving musicians a half-day off when he was bored in rehearsal.


  • Doug says:

    Gardiner??? Rattle???? That’s when I stopped reading.

    • Trevor S. says:

      your conment – moment I stopped reading. nevertheless your opinion is extremely important!

    • jaypee says:


      I usually consider everything you write as moronic -after all, you’re a trumpanzee- but i’d like to know what you think is wrong with Rattle or Gardiner…

  • Pedro says:

    Haitink, Barenboim, Thielemann, Gatti, Salonen, Nézet-Séguin, Muti, Mehta, Ozawa, among the living ones. Karajan, Böhm, Kleiber, Jochum, Sanderling, Bernstein, Boulez, Maazel are my favourites among those who have left us and whom I heard live. Without a conductor, a symphony orchestra is a dead body.

    • Richard Wallace says:

      …and a conductor without an orchestra is just an incompetent traffic cop…

      • Stephen says:

        You seriously underrate the many gifts a conductor requires!

        • Symphony musician says:

          Without a conductor an orchestra is no more than the sum of its parts – although those ‘parts’ may be great indeed, and the orchestra may still be worth hearing.
          With a duff conductor (alarmingly common) an orchestra is no more than the sum of its parts, ‘parts’ which are under stress and strain like a poorly-running engine. Ergo, an orchestra can often be better with no conductor at all.
          With a great conductor – that great rarity – an orchestra becomes much more than the sum of its parts.

    • Petros Linardos says:

      What about Mravinsky and Dorati?

      • Pedro says:

        I never heard them live, so I cant’t tell. I forgot Abbado in my list – for me he was outstanding when conducting the Lucerne orchestra and in Boris at La Scala in 1981. I have also heard a great Mahler 2 by Kubelik in Lucerne.

      • JamesM says:

        Rudolf Kempe – a master. Evgeny Svetlanov, underrated.

        • Pedro says:

          Yes! Svetlanov! Ravel Rapsodie Espagnole and Mahler 1. Superb. Never heard Kempe live.

          • Hansjuergen Kohlhaas says:

            I did. Sibelius, with Tretjakov, and Strauss Alpensinfonie! and I would remind of Günther Wand, Stanislaw Skrowaczewski, and of course, Boult, Beecham, Eduard van Beinum and without a doubt Carl Schuricht. And why not? Hermann Scherchen. Among the most competent traffic cops. Among the tallest? Kurt Masur.

        • SDG says:

          Yes, yes to Kempe, wonderful conductor of all sorts of music. But let’s not forget Giulini, Barbirolli and the great Klemperer.

  • Scots Musician says:

    Without a symphony orchestra, a great conductor is… very quiet.

  • Alastair Miles says:

    I’m reminded of this typically self-effacing comment to the LSO from Colin Davis:
    “Ladies and gentleman, how can I possibly follow you when you insist on not playing together?”

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Speaking of conductors of the past whom I think should be remembered more frequently, I would offer, in no particular order, the following:

    Erich Leinsdorf
    Charles Munch
    Hans Schmidt Isserstedt
    Hans Rosbaud
    Hermann Scherchen
    Carl Schuricht
    Desire Emile Inglebrecht
    Janos Ferencsik
    Ferenc Fricsay (How does one pronounce his name?)
    Rudolf Kempe
    Frederick Stock (Astonishgly, he led the Chicago Symphony from 1905 until 1942, the year of his death and made several recordings with the orchestra)

    I see some of these names have already been mentioned but I was thinking of them as well.

    • Gaffney Feskoe says:

      How did I forget to add William Steinberg to this list?

    • Hansjuergen Kohlhaas says:

      In Germany we pronounce F. F. Ferentch Fritschai. Something like this. He used to conduct the famous RIAS Symphony Orch. Berlin (which was renamed twice, it became the RSO under Maazel, later the DSO Deutsches Sinfonieorchester till now).

      I was surprised that Fritz Reiner wasn’t mentioned, nor were Bruno Walter, Eugene Ormandy, Pierre Monteux, Georges Prêtre, Josef Krips, Serge Koussevitzky, Arthur Rodzinski, Paul Paray, Dimitri Mitropoulos, Willem van Otterloo, Arturo Toscanini, Wilhelm Furtwängler, Erich Kleiber, Clemens Krauss, Franz Konwitschny, Herbert Blomstedt, Josef Keilberth, Hans Knappertsbusch, Georg-Ludwig Jochum, Horst Stein, and of course André Previn, Wladimir Aschkenasy, Gary Bertini, Eliahu Inbal. Perhaps also Sir Georg Solti?? Franz Welser-Möst? Dudamel?? The Järvi’s !! Mariss Jansons. To round it out with my present favorite.

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Rummaging my memory I have come up with several more conductors who seem to have slipped off the radar screen. My criteria for selecting all the names that I have mentioned is that they have all made a difference to my listening experience, either in live performance on on recordings, so they are, for me, not just random names from the past.

    Igor Markevitch
    Istvan Kertez
    Rafael Kubelik
    Eugene Ormandy
    Eugen Jochum
    Y. Mravinsky
    Pierre Monteux
    Ferdinand Leitner (especially his work at the Chicago Lyric Opera)
    Gunter Wand
    Karl Bohm

  • Gaffney Feskoe says:

    Oh yes, one more too. Artur Rodzinsky.

  • Pedro says:

    Giulini, Colin Davis, Sawallich, Prêtre, Stein, Previn, Ashkenazy, Inbal, Solti, W-M, Jansons, Paavo Järvi – No! Leinsdorf, van Oterloo, Blomstedt – Yes! And I’ve heard all of them live.

    • Hansjuergen Kohlhaas says:

      My very last take: Karel Ancerl, Vaclav Neumann, Lovro von Matacic, George Szell, Fabio Luisi, Victor de Sabata, Nikolaus Harnoncourt !!, Michael Gielen, Sir Roger Norrington, and of course late Neville Marriner! And herewith I’m offering a real Noddi: Jonathan Nott, former Chef of the Bamberg Symphony Orchestra, who brought a great Mahler cycle to the table. Maybe in Bavaria they call him Naughty?